Osteoporosis ("porous bones") is by far the most common bone disease, marked by an increased risk of bone fractures due to weak or thin bones. Although it is often equated with postmenopausal women, men aren't safe from osteoporosis either. According to a 2012 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4 percent of men over 50 years of age have the bone disease, and 38 percent of men in that age group have a condition called low bone mass (often a precursor to osteoporosis).
What's more, research suggests that one out of five men over 50 years old get at least one bone fracture in their lives. And though fractures are less common in men (about half of women over 50 are expected to get a bone fracture), the outcomes of their fractures are more serious. "The mortality from fractures is higher in men," says Dr. René Rizzoli, head of the Division of Bone Diseases at Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland.
Osteoporosis and bone fractures don't have to be a part of the aging process – they can usually be prevented with certain lifestyle changes. Here are 10 simple tips to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Skip the Vibration Therapy for Now
In recent years, whole-body vibration therapy – in which a machine rapidly vibrates the body to induce bone stress – has gained a lot of attention as a possible method to improve bone health. Though the therapy makes sense in theory, "there still isn't sufficient evidence to recommend it," says Dr. Lewiecki.
For instance, in 2011, a year-long study found that whole-body vibration therapy didn't improve the bone density and structure of postmenopausal women. And in 2013, a three-year-long study led by Harvard University researchers also found no benefit to the therapy. Interestingly, another study from last year showed that the therapy significantly improved the bone strength of adolescents with cerebral palsy. "Still, your best bet is to get regular physical exercise," says Dr. Rizzoli.
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